Divorce is never an easy decision and the process of getting a divorce can be complicated, depending on your particular circumstances and several other factors. First, you will need to figure out what divorce process to use. You may want to mediate your case, you may see the benefits of using the Collaborative Divorce Process, or you may need to take it to court for full-on divorce litigation proceedings, or choose to represent yourself with an attorney only as consulting counsel.
Avoid Making Big Changes
It is in your best interest, if you know you are safe and the situation is amicable enough, to talk to your spouse about your preferences for the divorce process. Even if you agree on certain things such as separating your bank accounts, hold off taking dividing or moving assets until you talk to a lawyer. It can complicate matters more if you move assets around, change insurance, or make any other serious changes to your financial situation beforehand. This is especially the case if you plan on using a process other than litigation, such as mediation or Collaborative Divorce and it may upset or cause your spouse to request going it to court.
Consult with an attorney once you know which process path you would like to take. The attorney will tell you what the process will require and entail. You want your divorce to remain as respectful and peaceful as possible.
A Word About Litigation
You may decide to opt for litigation because there are legal matters that you know will be contested by the other person. You will want to research to find the lawyer that will be best fit for your case. Litigation should generally be considered a last resort option. There are some cases for which going to court is the only option because the couple simply cannot work together to resolve the issues in their case. However, if it is possibility to work together, with professional assistance, the end result will be more satisfactory.
Gather Your Financial Information
Next, you will want to begin gathering your financial paperwork. Divorcing couples in California are required to complete financial disclosures as a step in your divorce. Find your bank statements, tax returns, car titles, mortgage documents, credit card statements, etc. Make sure that you have copies of documents you give to your attorney. It is a good idea to have this started before you are asked to conduct a financial disclosure. Speak with an attorney about what you will need and to be clear about your rights and responsibilities.
Attend a Divorce Options Workshop
The Divorce Options workshop could be ideal for your situation. Couples can attend together, or you and your spouse can attend separately if you are not comfortable or unable to attend together. These workshops are held frequently. They provide you with a great overview of the choices available for the divorce process, and also gives you information about the law that’s involved in getting a divorce, so that you won’t be totally taken by surprise. To register for a Divorce Options Workshop visit: http://www.collaborativepracticesanmateocounty.org/divorce-options/
For assistance with any aspect of your divorce, contact us at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law.